The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) State Grant is a seven- year federal initiative designed to increase early college awareness, readiness, and success for low-income and historically underrepresented students. The grant follows a cohort of students starting in 7th grade through their first year of postsecondary education. Nationally, GEAR UP outcomes have shown positive student gains for participating students (e.g. students graduate from high school at a higher rate than their peers - regardless of ethnicity or income - and attend college at a higher rate). For more information about the federal grant program, visit the Department of Education’s GEAR UP homepage.
Texas GEAR UP State Grant
The Texas Education Agency (TEA), as the governor-appointed agency to apply for the state grant in Texas, was awarded a GEAR UP state grant for the period of 2012-2019. The Texas GEAR UP State Grant Project implements two primary strategies to achieve GEAR UP goals:
- A district intervention model that provides support to cohort students in four targeted, high-need districts. Participating districts were pre-identified in the state’s grant application. TEA collaborates with the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Public School Initiatives (IPSI) as the state implementation office (technical assistance provider).
- A statewide outreach model that provides information, guidance, and resources related to college and career readiness for all Texas students, parents, and educators. TEA collaborates with AMS Public Interest as the product development provider.
For more information about the Texas GEAR UP State Grant, please find a brief overview.
In an effort to increase college awareness, readiness, and success, Texas GEAR UP recommends its free resources- available to any student, parent, educator, or district:
This main TXGU webpage hosts a variety of information for multiple audiences: students, parents/family, and educators. The Student Hub has college preparation tools for students (such as researching colleges, exploring career opportunities and deciding which classes to take in high school). The Parent Spot has guides for parents to support their teens through the college process. This includes topics such as being an advocate for students to applying and paying for college. The Educators’ Lounge has TEKS-aligned lesson plans and other tools to get students excited about and prepared for college.
This website has specifically tailored college and career preparation information for students, parents, and teachers, Information is organized around four categories of resources: WHY go to college, PREP for college, FIND a college, and PAY for College. Individualized resources and pathways are explored for each grade level from seventh through twelfth grade.
This website is geared toward high school students and their parents. It contains information for college and career planning, as well as recommended questions for students and parents to ask their counselors at each grade level in order to stay on track to achieve their goals. It also provides links to additional resources about college and career readiness.
This website is a Texas tri-agency collaboration that serves as a hub for college and career readiness resources for students, parents, and educators on behalf of three state agencies: TEA, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board , and the Texas Workforce Commission.
- All Texas school districts and educational organizations are encouraged to use the free Texas GEAR UP college awareness and readiness resources available at texasgearup.com.
- Eligibility for the current district intervention package grants is limited to the school districts and partners originally outlined in the agency's federal grant proposal in 2012.
- The current high-need districts participating in the TX state grant met the U.S. Department of Education qualifications for "persistently lowest achieving" or were eligible through the Texas' School Improvement Grant- Texas Title I Priority Schools.
Current Grantee District Awards
Participating School Districts and Campuses:
The Texas GEAR UP State Grant started in 2012 and served seven middle schools. The grant currently serves six high schools. Participating districts and campuses are listed below.
- Edgewood ISD : Brentwood Middle School, Gus Garcia Middle School, J.T. Wrenn Middle School, John F. Kennedy High School, Memorial High School
- Lubbock ISD : Dunbar College Preparatory School, Estacado High School
- Manor ISD : Decker Middle School, Manor Middle School, Manor High School
- Somerset ISD : Somerset Junior High School, Somerset High School
Texas GEAR UP Coalition
Part of the state outreach strategy for the Texas GEAR UP state grant is building and sustaining a college-going culture throughout the state. Learn more about the Texas GEAR UP Coalition and other efforts around the state to increase college awareness, readiness, and success.
The district intervention strategy implements a cohort model beginning with all 7th grade students in seven participating middle schools. The intervention follows the cohort through all middle and high school grades and the first year of postsecondary education. The cohort size consists of approximately 1,500 students as of the 2016-2017 school year.
Texas GEAR UP oversees technical assistance for educators, students, and families on topics including, but not limited to:
- College Readiness
- College Awareness
- Advanced Academics
- Promising Outreach Practices
- Financial Aid
- Parent Involvement
- Mentors, Mindsets, and Relationships
Annual Implementation Reports are currently available online for the first three years of the grant.
The Texas GEAR UP State Grant Program Evaluation: Annual Implementation Report for the 2014–15 School Year (ICF International, August 2016)
The Texas GEAR UP State Grant Program Evaluation: Annual Implementation Report for the 2013–14 School Year (ICF International, August 2015)
The Texas GEAR UP State Grant Program Evaluation: Annual Implementation Report for the 2012–13 School Year (ICF International, September 2013)
The current Texas GEAR UP State Grant cycle is granted with a performance period from July 23, 2012 through July 22, 2019. Texas GEAR UP implementation in the 2012-2019 federal grant period is being evaluated by ICF, Inc.
Annual budget periods are funded as follows, pending USDE annual allocations:
- 2018 Year 7 (July 23, 2018 - July 22, 2019) $3,000,000
- 2017 Year 6 (July 23, 2017 - July 22, 2018) $5,000,000
- 2016 Year 5 (July 23, 2016 - July 22, 2017) $5,000,000
- 2015 Year 4 (July 23, 2015 - July 22, 2016) $5,000,000
- 2014 Year 3 (July 23, 2014 - July 22, 2015) $5,000,000
- 2013 Year 2 (July 23, 2013 - July 22, 2014) $5,000,000
- 2012 Year 1 (July 23, 2012 - July 22, 2013) $5,000,000
Partners and Major Service Providers:
- The University of Texas at Austin, Institute for Public Schools Initiatives (IPSI)
- AMS Public Interest
- College Board
- Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation (TG)
- FOCUS Training
- Signal Vine
- Social Solutions (Formerly CTK, Inc.)
Legislation and Rules
Legislation and rules guiding GEAR UP can be found below:
Texas Education Agency
College, Career, and Military Preparation